February 27, 2013

Mango Chili Leather

One of the great things Modernist cooking does for home cooks is allow them to make foods that they normally can only get in stores. Our recipe for fruit leather also lets home cooks play with flavors, like we have in our Mango Chili recipe below.

This recipe is a variation of our Tomato Leather recipe. We also have other variations of fruit leather, and even onion leather, in our book, Modernist Cuisine at Home. In the Tomato Leather recipe as well as in other variations, you need to add 0.2% xanthan gum, but due to the high levels of pectin found naturally in mangoes, you don’t need additional thickeners when making Mango Chili Leather.

—Sam Fahey-Burke, Development Chef

Recipe Tags

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Chili Mango Leather, step 2

Thoroughly mix the sugar and oil into the pureed mango.

Chili Mango Leather, step 2B

 

Puree the finely diced chilies with the mango, or stir them into the mixture.

Silicone mats and molds

 

Use a nonstick surface, such as a Silpat mat or dehydrator mat.

Chili Mango Leather, step 3

 

Spread the mixture to a thickness of 2 mm / 1/16 in.

Dehydrator

 

Food dehydrators are great for making mango chili leather, puffing skin, or just drying fruits and vegetables.

Chili Mango Leather, step 5

 

Gently peel the dried leather from the nonstick surface.

Tips & Substitutions

Steps 1– - 3
  • The oil in this recipe prevents the leather from sticking to your teeth; the more oil you use, the more tender and supple the resulting leather.
  • Use fresh chilies for this recipe. You can find red Thai chilies in most grocery stores and specialty Asian stores.
  • Finely dice the chilies. You can puree them with the rest of the ingredients, or add them to the pureed mixture. If you choose the latter option, make sure that you dice the chilies as finely as possible. They should not be larger than the final thickness of the leather.
  • The pureed mixture in this recipe may be more watery than the tomato leather and other variations.
  • The recipe for Tomato Leather and its variations recommend using xanthan gum, but because mangoes naturally have high amounts of pectin, xanthan gum is not needed for this recipe.
  • Spread the mixture onto a nonstick surface, such as a Silpat mat or dehydrator mat to a thickness of 2 mm / 1/16 in.
  • Wax paper will not work as a nonstick surface because the puree will be wet and sticky, which can make the wax paper soggy, causing the leather to stick to it.
Steps 4– - 6
  • Dry the mixture in a food dehydrator (we like Excaliber brand). Alternatively, you can use your oven, set to its lowest temperature. Dehydrating time depends on how low your oven goes, so before you dehydrate any foods it’s a good idea to calibrate your oven.
  • Keep your dehydrator in the least humid and best ventilated part of your kitchen.
  • We love our food dehydrator. In Modernist Cuisine at Home, we also use it to puff pork and chicken skin and to make Dried Caramelized Onions. In Modernist Cuisine, we use dehydrators to make interesting things like garlic chips, crystallized rose petals, and spinach paper.
  • To store the leather, roll it into a single layer of waxed paper and seal it in plastic wrap.

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Discussion

  1. Jeff March 2, 2013 Reply

    You can buy canned Kesar mango pulp at any Indian market. It is way better than most mangoes you find in the US, and you don’t need to add any sugar. Amazing recipe!

  2. Dave May 10, 2013 Reply

    Anybody tried other interesting flavors??? I have done a strawberry lime – Next up is Watermelon mint. I know I’ll need to add Xanthan to the Watermelon to thicken it (probably more than the .2% instructions say). I’ll sweeten with Mint Simple Syrup. Just curious if anyone’s tried anything else. Can you add booze to this? I thought a margarita one could be interesting. I know you’ll be taking the water from booze back out but the alcohol wouldn’t burn off at 115 degrees my oven goes down to.

  3. Jeff August 12, 2014 Reply

    Miso works without any thickeners also. It has a burnt sweet taste.

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